2023-2024 Faculty Colloquia

The Faculty Colloquia Program, hosted by the Center for Global Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, stands as a dynamic platform within our academic community, fostering intellectual exchange and collaboration among faculty members. Scholars present current research in an informal setting, with ample opportunity for discussion, feedback, and questions. Join us as we delve into a wide range of thought-provoking topics.

Creole Cooking and French Poetry in an Eroding Louisiana

Thursday, November 9, 4:15 – 5:30pm
Hollander Hall 241
Chase Cormier, Visiting Assistant Professor of French

Headshot of Chase CormierIn her cookbook, Mosquito Supper Club (2020), Chef Melissa Martin writes “[t]he aromas, sights, and sounds of cooking are omnipresent. We unconsciously know how to speak the language. Words are ingredients, and recipes are poems” (240). The inevitable link between cooking and writing is rooted in Louisiana’s long-held oral tradition. Today, Louisiana has a front row seat to the climate crisis. In this presentation, I examine the role of food and writing in the effort to rebuild, in the resilience that has become characteristic of Louisianans. I look closely into the pots and poems of this unique American landscape to investigate the intersection of emblematic food items and creative writing as a space for the preservation and evolution of a literary identity. Creators of cookbooks and poetry respond to coastal and cultural erosion by writing Louisiana cuisine as a metaphor, image, and cultural object to amplify otherwise silenced voices.

Learning and Representation of L2 Synonymous Syntactic Constructions

Thursday, November 30, 4:15 – 5:30pm
Hollander Hall 241

Xiaoming Hou, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese

Headshot of Xiaoming HouIn recent years, there has been increasing interest in comparing the learning and representation of synonymous syntactic constructions between first language (L1) speakers and second language (L2) learners. It has generally been found that while L1 speakers are sensitive to the subtle differences between the synonymous syntactic constructions, such sensitivity is lacking in L2 learners. In this colloquium, I will be sharing the results from two experiments where I found the unbalanced learning of two Chinese synonymous syntactic constructions, namely the Ba-construction and its SVO counterpart. When the two constructions were not differentiated in learners’ L1, the learning of the more novel Ba-construction was attenuated. As a result, learners tended to avoid using the Ba-construction at the initial learning stage and appeared to represent the two constructions in a more interchangeable fashion at later stages of learning. Pedagogical implications of these results will also be discussed.

Looking for Hope in the Medieval Supernatural

Wednesday, February 28, 4:15 – 5:30pm
Hollander Hall 241

Mario Sassi, Visiting Assistant Professor of Romance Languages

Headshot of Mario SassiOften seen in derogatory terms, the supernatural came to represent an ethos of the European Middle Ages, associated with a cultural norm that was irrational and superstitious. Preachers used supernatural creatures and stories to convince their listeners of the necessity for repentance and atonement, but they did so in highly imaginative ways. Angels and Demons, among others, became standard characters of preaching narratives. Yet, they did not serve only as a scare tactic against sin; instead, they represented, at times, the desires and fears of everyday people. In this presentation, I will discuss how the Supernatural appears in Medieval literature, focusing on preaching texts between the 13th and 15th centuries. I will show how the supernatural could be (and often was) a means to talk about deeper emotions, beyond the prescriptive view of a world of good and evil, saints and sinners, angels and demons.

Tidepool Testimonials: Ananda Devi’s Narrative Worldmaking and the Stakes of Trans Knowledge at the “End” of the World

Tuesday, April 16, 4:15 – 5:30pm
Hollander Hall 241
Eric Disbro, Visiting Assistant Professor of French

Eric Disbro headshotQueer and trans communities have always defied the ongoing realities of crisis and violence that would see our vitality erased. Consequently, today, the entire global community vies for innovative knowledge to oppose the difficulties of environmental and humanitarian crises of the “Anthropocene:” our modern era haunted by the permanence of human residue on Earth. Given the ways that queer/trans folks have celebrated expansive forms of embodiment, privileged attention to multispecies ecologies, and sustained forms of communal care labor, the world now seeks to reexamine global queer and trans worldviews to endure divisive challenges besieging the present. Turning to the work of acclaimed Mauritian writer, Ananda Devi, I trace her commitment to creolized forms of trans knowledge in the creation of a planetarily-intimate literature. Just as tidepools are microcosms of the inconceivable vastness of world oceans, Devi’s literary exploration of trans “magic” juxtaposes the embodied trans epistemologies and care webs necessary to model modes of planetary empathy needed in the Anthropocentric present.